Shredded – Karen Avivi

Shredded

Synopsis

Drop into the world of girls’ freestyle BMX for an action-packed summer road trip adventure.

Shredded by Karen Avivi is more than a teen girls’ sports book or a BMX biking book; it’s a motivating push-your-limits story for anyone who refuses to overlooked.

Josie Peters thinks she’ll do anything to qualify for the Ultimate BMX freestyle event the summer before her senior year so she and her friends take off on a summer road trip to hit the qualifying events in the Midwest. Late-night parties, an intimidating mega ramp, and the lure of sponsorships spark friction between the girls. When Josie’s best chance for success depends on her relationship with flashy rider R.T. Torres, she has to decide what she’s trying to win and how much she’ll sacrifice.

Shredded is a fast-paced, fun read that tackles feminism, friendship, sexism, and sibling rivalry. Even readers unfamiliar with BMX or extreme sports will be caught up in the adrenaline rush of Josie’s tricks, wipeouts, and wins. Hints of romance provide extra conflict without overtaking the main story.

Ideal for fans of realistic young adult fiction, Shredded features a strong female lead character who goes after what she wants by taking action.

Experience the rivalries, rejections, and triumphs of rule-breaking, gravity-defying girls who shred.

Review

If you want a girl-centric book, this is it.

Upon reading the description, I had hoped Josie would be a protagonist like the side-character Maggie in Sarah Dessen’s Along for the Ride. By that, I mean a confident stunt BMX girl who also balanced her school work and enjoyed clothes/shopping/other “girly” things. But for someone who was so adamant about girl-power, Josie seemed to discriminate against girls who weren’t as tough as her all the same. She seemed to scoff at Gianna’s way of life, and didn’t even want to be near the BMX girl who hesitated on her ride. I found this pretty hypocritical — yes, it’s great if you can prove that you’re tough enough to roll with the guys, but part of earning respect means giving respect as well… and I felt that she didn’t truly respect other girls’ lifestyle choices.

Josie’s parents were seemingly horrible for most of the book. They never supported Josie’s “reckless” lifestyle, and she was constantly overshadowed by her brother. There didn’t seem to be any moment where her parents came to accept her riding except when she told her mom that she was no longer interested in riding in the MixUp. Because of that, I found it really far-fetched that they suddenly gave her their full-support by the end of the book. It seemed to come out of nowhere.

I was also really disappointed by the way Josie let R.T. treat her. She was putty in his hands, willing to take whatever he offered her whenever he offered it to her. I wasn’t pleased with the fact that by the end, she was hopeful to see him again. Miguel helped her realize that she stood by the “alpha-males” like her brother, Sean, and R.T. because she felt more comfortable in that spot, so it was disheartening to see her being with R.T. (only under his terms) when it went against everything she tried teaching the clinic girls and other BMX girls everywhere.

I also found it hard to believe that Josie turned down Launch Pad when she wanted to attend so badly. If she wanted a place to showcase girl-BMX riders and their capabilities, that event would have been the optimal place. As seen by the lack of media coverage, riding in Exhibition didn’t necessarily help her cause. But at the same time, I can see where she was coming from — if better riders showed up at overlooked events, she could help boost coverage in that area. Getting an interview at the end justified her actions anyway, but I felt like it was a bit too much of a “fairy tale ending.”

Now, a big part of the book centered around feminism. Personally, I feel like constantly emphasizing the differences between men and women creates a bigger rift between genders rather than equality. This book was big on the emphasis. I felt like if Josie didn’t bring up sexism so much, it wouldn’t have been as much of an issue. Stating things like, “She was almost as good as some of the top male BMX riders” (in reference to Evie) only underscores the different standards that are placed on men and women. I understand how sexism could be so prevalent in such a male-dominated sport, but I believe that talent (or hype) trumps gender. Josie served as a role model by performing well, and she duly received attention for it (getting tapped for performances, interviews, sponsors). I wish the author focused more on those examples rather than harping on women’s rights in Josie’s inner monologue — a classic case of needing to show more than to tell.

Nevertheless, I still found this book pretty heartwarming. I found the BMX scenes descriptive and extremely interesting (mostly because I don’t have a clue about it), and I loved the attention to detail paid onto many of the side characters (Connor, you’re the best!). They all seemed human with faults and issues of their own. I wished there was some resolution to Lauryn’s struggles with her parents though, because that was left quite open-ended. Overall, I liked the motivational and inspirational undertones of the story, from always giving 110% to “getting back on the bike” after a fall to going after goals regardless of preconceived limitations.

Related Reads

  • Bittersweet – Sarah Ockler (interesting athletic descriptions; prioritizing goals)
  • Along for the Ride – Sarah Dessen
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart (girl power done flawlessly)

Rating: 3.5/5

 

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